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An off-duty police dog, named for the Nazi field marshal Rommel, lived up to his name when he attacked an innocent chihuahua, JJ, as the little dog was being walked by its owner by her home in Ridgefield, New Jersey. Officer Eric Petersen of the K-9 unit had allowed his sister-in-law to let Rommel into the side yard to poo unattended.

Rommel went immediately for the kill. He grabbed JJ and shook him fatally. All sorts of excuses were being made by a police department that refused to accept any blame, i.e., Rommel was trained as a bomb-sniffing dog and had no aggression-training, so his dangerous behavior was unanticipated. Yet a K-9 deputy should not have been off-leash and without a handler beside it, ever, and this was an ideal case for why that rule exists. And there's no question but that Officer Petersen was at fault.

Jersey City police Captain Brian O'Callahan claimed Officer Petersen was traumatized. Yeah, yeah, killing peoples' family members is rougher on the cops than the families. O'Callahan whinged: "The K-9 officers are all dog lovers. It is difficult to see a dog hurt like that." Hurt? Killed, dude!

And a unit that is proud to name any of their dogs after "heroic" Nazis probably have other lapses in taste and judgement. Who knows what other vile traits render such officers unfit to serve as alleged defenders of public safety. [June 2007]

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